Afternoon Tea with me

3 Nov

My TeaOne of my not-so-secret passions is tea. I blame/credit my mother for this as she has an entire cupboard dedicated to different kinds of tea (many being gifts from all over the world), and she has been known to quaff several pots in a row on a weekend as each family member drops in to visit (never at the same time) and demands the ritual of having tea to go with the conversation.  My husband jokes that when I go back to Grahamstown for a visit all I do is sit in the garden with my mom and drink tea.. but he’s not really joking.  Sometime I measure the stress level of my day as how many cups of tea I’ve managed to make in between the chaos of work (a one cup day has NOT been good) and I even went so far once as to draw up a business case for quitting my job and starting a tea emporium, which, were it not for lack of capital, might even have worked in this era where tea is becoming as trendy as coffee.

Having said all that I’m actually a bit of tea pleb most of the time and would be severely frowned upon by a proper connoisseur.  This is because, although few things get my heart racing like a tome of a tea menu such as you get at The Mount Nelson or Nigiro, 9 times out of 10 I will drink rooibos, straight up, no milk, no sugar.  I have been known to leave the tea bag in while I drink it and I like it in a big fat bucket mug, no dainty china handles that burn my fingers thanks.

The Cellars-HohenortStill, when an opportunity presents itself I take great delight in exotic blends, pre-warmed pots and tea timers.  An obvious opportunity is when my mom comes to Cape Town to visit me. Although we do a lot of sitting in my garden and drinking tea (Earl Grey is my mom’s standard), my other mom (in-law) suggested we go out for a treat of Afternoon Tea.  Now, to be clear, “Afternoon Tea” implies cake and scones with your tea (as opposed to “High Tea” which people think is posh but is actually the supper that Brits invented to tide them over between breakfast and dinner, and usually involves meat and potatoes… and tea).  My favourite local spot is Queen of Tarts, and nothing can beat the spread of the Mount Nelson, but this time we decided to put the Cellars-Hohenort’s Conservatory’s Afternoon Tea menu to the test.

As far as actual tea goes, it was quite standard stuff, the most exotic thing I could find to drink being the Twinings Darjeeling (served in a beautiful silver teapot), but the whole experience was a treat.  It was a moody, misty/sunny Cape Town day which somehow suits the lush greenness of Constantia, so we sat outside on the veranda overlooking the very beautiful gardens.  The cake part of Afternoon Tea was heavenly. We each ordered a slice of something different with vague intention of sharing, and then didn’t because our own were each so delicious (I can vouch for the carrot cake).  Afterwards we walked through the gardens and soaked up the peacefulness of the place.  It’s a taste of luxury that is worth repeating whenever there’s a chance.  So next time mom comes to visit we have a few more spots to tick off our list.  In the meantime I’ll keep my tea shelf stocked and my teapot washed in readiness to enjoy a spot of peace in my own garden.

One Response to “Afternoon Tea with me”

  1. Anne November 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Of course we didn’t share any cake – doesn’t that slice of chocolate heaven look far too good to spread around! The gardens are magnificent and would easily rival ones you’d pay the earth for to wander around overseas. Tea at ANY time of the day is highly recommended: today I have enjoyed Assam, Ginger, Earl Grey and African Blend – and afternoon ‘tea time’ has not come round yet.

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